A staff summer party can be a tax-free benefit

Your organisation may have an annual Christmas party for staff, but the tax rules also allow staff parties at other times of the year which are a tax-free benefit if certain conditions are satisfied.

The exemption applies to an annual party (for example, a Christmas party), or similar annual function (for example, a summer barbecue), provided for employees and is available to all employees or available to all employees at that location, where the employer has more than one location.  If the employer provides two or more annual parties or functions, no tax charge arises in respect of the party, or parties, for which cost(s) per head do not exceed £150 in aggregate. For each function the cost per head should be calculated. The cost per head of subsequent functions should be added. If the total cost per head goes over £150 then whichever functions best utilise the £150 are exempt, the other is taxable.

New Business Start Up Kit

Have you a unique business idea but are just not sure where to begin turning your idea into a business?

Budding entrepreneurs are often left to fend for themselves when setting up a new business, and the small business sector is one that is rapidly growing even on a daily basis. That’s why we’ve put together a guide full of everything you need to consider when starting a business.

Our handy New Business Start Up Kit should help you find your way through the financial, tax and accounting considerations of starting a new business, and should also help you handle many of the problems encountered in starting and running a business.

To help you get started, we’ve highlighted the top four questions  to focus on (and why answering them will help you drive your new business forward).

Get in touch with your local Saint & Co office to talk about your new business and let us show you where we can help you get the most from your new enterprise.

4 critical decisions to make before starting a new business

Starting your own business is an exciting time for any business owner or entrepreneur. But before you dive headfirst into establishing your fledgling company it’s important to do some planning to make sure your new venture is built on the most solid of foundations – and that means asking yourself some critical questions about your business idea.

Read more →

Countryside Productivity Small Grants Scheme (CPSGS) opens

With the scheme opening yesterday 9th July, if you are looking at buying farm kit, then it could be worth looking into applying for grant funding, if the equipment falls within the guidelines. The grant of 40% of the cost, being £3,000 to £12,000, meaning equipment costing between £7,500 and £30,000 would be eligible for the full 40%. If the equipment costs more than £30,000, then the grant would be limited to £12,000 – multiple items can be grouped together in a single application.

The scheme is designed to encourage investment in equipment that will help farmers to make their business more efficient and environmentally sustainable.

Note, the scheme closes at midday on 3rd September 2019, so there is a short window of opportunity to apply, and equipment will need to be bought within 150 days of the grant being agreed – do not order or buy equipment until a grant application has been accepted and grant funding approved – if you do, this may nullify the grant. If you applied in the first CPSGS, then you can apply in the second round too, however, the total grant is capped at £12,000.

For full scheme guidance see this link

Vacancy for Accounts Assistant at Saint & Co, Carlisle

Due to continued expansion, Saint & Co (Carlisle Office) are looking for a full-time hard-working, enthusiastic individual to join our rapidly growing accounts team. The role will involve accounts production (both limited and non-limited) ready for review by senior staff and / or bookkeeping / management accounts preparation. Experience is essential. Xero certification / Sage / Quick Books experience is preferred. A knowledge of VAT would be an advantage. Further training will be given.

Consideration would be given to someone who doesn’t have experience but can demonstrate drive and determination to learn. We operate a flexi-time system and hours can be negotiated.

Please submit your CV by Friday 5th August 2019 to Lindsay Farrer – lindsay@saint.co.uk or Saint & Co., Sterling House, Wavell Drive, Rosehill, Carlisle, CA1 2SA

Make school holidays easier with Tax-Free Childcare

Did you know there is a government scheme available that can help contribute towards childcare costs which may mean fewer of your employees will need time off at the same time this summer.

Tax-Free Childcare is a scheme available to working parents with children from 0-11 years and many parents are not taking advantage of the scheme. HMRC would thus welcome help from employers in changing that, so please tell your employees about Tax-Free Childcare and how it can reduce their childcare costs.

Eligible parents can get up to £2,000 per child, per year to spend on qualifying childcare (effectively a 25% top up). Note that Tax-Free Childcare isn’t just for everyday childcare costs, such as childminders and nurseries, parents can also use it to pay towards the cost of:

  • after school clubs
  • summer camps
  • school holiday activities

Office Administrator & Trainee Accounts Clerk required for Ambleside Office

Established in 1884, Saint & Co is one of the largest accountancy firms in Cumbria. We are seeking a full time office administrator & trainee accounts clerk for our busy Ambleside Office.

The ideal candidate will be conscientious, of smart appearance, have good communication and interpersonal skills, and be IT literate.

Please send your CV with a covering letter explaining why you are suitable for the role to Ian Thompson (ian@saint.co.uk) by 10th July 2019.

Register for our FREE Mini BITE session with AutoEntry on 10 July 2019

Chris Williams, Partner Manager from AutoEntry, will be introducing you to the app that saves you time – instantly!

AutoEntry allows you to automatically process all the paper your business receives without the need to endlessly key in information. Just take photos of all your receipts and save them directly in the app or forward an email receipt or invoice to the app and then delete the email. No more stuffing paper into your pockets or bags and wondering what happened to them later.

Chris will take you through this user-friendly app and show you how you can save hours and hours of time that you can use for new business opportunities instead. An added bonus, AutoEntry also integrates beautifully with Xero.

Register Today – places are limited!

When & Where:

Wednesday, 10th July 2019

Saint & Co. Carlisle Office
Sterling House, Wavell Drive, Rosehill, Carlisle, CA1 2SA

From 12 noon (buffet lunch included)

Why Should You Attend:

  1. You’ll hear from Chris about how to save time and go truly paperless
  2. You’ll receive a demo on submitting invoices, receipts and expenses via the mobile app
  3. You’ll receive a FREE buffet lunch!


Some cars only qualify for 6% tax relief now

The latest Finance Act has reduced the tax writing down allowance for motor cars that emit more than 110 grams of CO2 to just 6% on a reducing balance basis from April 2019. In the case of company cars the vehicle is included in the “special rate” pool which means that even when the car is sold the proceeds are deducted from the pool and the 6% allowance continues until the balance is written off. It may be more advantageous to lease such a vehicle – check with us.

High income child benefit charge and state pension

Where the income of one spouse exceeds £60,000 such that the whole of the child benefit is taxed they may be tempted not to claim child benefit at all. This may however limit the amount of State pension and other benefits at a later date. Under current rules Individuals must make National Insurance contributions for 35 years to receive a full State Pension. Individuals may claim Child Benefit and choose not to receive the payments, which means they do not have to pay the charge but still receive the associated National Insurance Credits for that year and protect their State Pension entitlement.

Note that grandparents who have ceased working and are looking after their grandchildren may also claim NIC credits for that year which would count towards their 35 year contribution history. Remember that you can check your National Insurance record online on the DWP website to see:

  • what you’ve paid, up to the start of the current tax year (6 April 2019)
  • any National Insurance credits you’ve received
  • if gaps in contributions or credits mean some years do not count towards your State Pension (they are not ‘qualifying years’)
  • if you can pay voluntary contributions to fill any gaps and how much this will cost

You can check your State Pension online at any time for a forecast of how much you could get. The service will also confirm when you will reach State Pension age, under the law as it stands. Note that Government proposes to increase the State Pension age to 68 from 2037.